Kumbhalgarh fort & its walls : epitome of royal strength

On our recent visit to Rajasthan, we stayed in Udaipur for 4 days and one of those days we devoted to visiting Kumbhalgarh. As we had heard a lot about Kumbhalgarh fort and it’s walls. So, we were quiet excited to visit here.

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Full view of the Kumbhalgarh fort along with its majestic walls

The Udaipur – Kumbhalgarh highway

Post breakfast, we started our trip from Udaipur around  10am in the morning. We hired a cab from our hotel in Udaipur for this day trip. Also, this day trip included a visit to the infamous Jain temple of Ranakpur, after a visit to Kumbhalgarh fort. Although, the total distance from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh is only about 85km. However, the road is mostly single lane. Thus, vehicles from both the sides use this single lane to commute. Thus, often one vehicle has to slow down to give way to the other one coming from opposite side. So, ideally this distance should be covered in max of 1.5 hrs. But it took us a little over 2.5 hrs to reach here. Nevertheless, the scenic route more than makes up for the time lost in travel

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Highway to Kumbhalgarh.

The great walls of Kumbhalgarh fort

The forts of Rajasthan are very strategically located. As a testimony, you won’t get a glimpse of the Kumbhalgarh fort until you are quiet inside it’s radar. We reached the fort around 12:30pm. As soon as we were out of our vehicle, the majestic walls of the fort immediately held our attention. No doubt they are fondly called “The Great Walls of India“. Actually, you can walk amidst these walls to a certain extent. They are broad enough that a full size horse cart can easily run on them.

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The first glimpse of the great walls of Kumbhalgarh fort

 

Into the Kumbhalgarh fort

We took our tickets and entered through the main entrance gate that hovers like a giant and makes the visitors feel like tiny bubbles. As you step inside the fort, on your left hand side lies the main fort. And, on the right hand side lies a few temples. Also, there is a light and sound show held in the evening, on the grounds near the temple on right hand side of the fort. Finally, in the center, just near the entrance door is an info board with details about the fort engraved on it.

The guide board

Here’s an excerpt from the guide board that you come across near the entrance :

Attributed to Rana Kumbha, this fort was built between 1443 – 1458 AD under supervision of famous architect Mandan. It is believed that the fort was built over the remains of the earlier structure associated to Jain Prince Samprati of the second century BC. This fort is defended by a series of Bastions at regular intervals. Entered through AARET POL, HALLA POL and HANUMAN POL from the south one can reach to the RAM POL and VIJAY POL, the main entrance of the fort. The palatial complex at the top of the fort is approached through BHAIRON POL, NIMBU POL, PAGHRA POL. There is another entrance on the east known as DHANIBATTA which connects mewar from marwar region. Important brahmanchial and jain shrines within the fort are VEDI TEMPLE, NEELKANTHA MAHADEV TEMPLE, CHARBHUJA TEMPLE, GANESHA TEMPLE, BAVAN DEVRIS, PITALIYA SHAH TEMPLE, PARSHVNATH TEMPLE, GOLERAO GROUP OF TEMPLES and other miniature shrines. The other important buildings are the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, ruins of the kumbh palace , badal mahal, royal chhatris, baoris and water reservoirs.”

Food first

Towards the left, just at the foot of the fort structure is a small food outlet. Since we were not very hungry at this point, we decided to take some juice and water bottles from here on our onwards journey. There was an old lady sitting on the foot steps, chatting merrily with the owner of the food outlet. Also, she acted as our temporary guide, showing us the way to start off our journey towards the fort. (Since, the fort is so huge, we were feeling a little lost deciding were to start off from).

Starting with the temples

Just adjacent to the food outlet stands the first temple. This is a Ganesha temple. Alas, we had arrived post noon and hence the temple was closed to visitors. Nevertheless, we still climbed the stairs and went atop to admire the architecture and the beautiful dome of the small temple. Then we trekked further up the stairs besides the temple, to arrive at the entrance gate of yet another temple, the Lakshmi Narayana Temple. However, this one was completely locked, so, we had to satisfy ourselves from outside only.

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Ganesha Temple

 

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Lakshminarayana Temple

Trek towards the fort

From here you can begin a proper trek towards the main fort. There is a beautiful cobbled pathway that leads uphill through different sections of the fort. On one side of the pathway runs the majestic wall of the fort. In this wall, you will see holes made to hold the guns and barrels in the past. Adjacent to the wall, at times, you will also encounter ruins of some structures that were once part of the fort.

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Cobbled pathway leading towards the main fort from besides LakshmiNarayana Temple

 

Almost every turn has a couple of benches. Hence you can rest your feet before you climb further. (And we made ample use of these!!) Even the little one loved the trekking and then resting on these rusty benches it seems.

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On the way towards the fort, besides the cobbled pathway

The Pols

Also, there is a POL or gate after every few meters, guarding the entrance to the next section of the fort. Further up, you will reach a big courtyard covered with green grass. At one end of this courtyard lies a building housing several of the “topes” (Canons) that once decorated and protected the fort across its walls.

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One of the majestic pols aka gates inside Kumbhalgarh fort

 

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The canon house

 

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One of the many canons housed here

Birthplace of Maharana Prathap

Next, crossing the ruins of the fort, admiring its architecture, you will soon arrive at the birth place of Maharana Prathap. However, the view of the aravali hills and forests beyond, as seen from this point in the fort,are sure to hold you here for a while. Since, it is stunningly green and scenic as far as you can see. From here, you will see layers of green mountains stretching far and wide beyond the fort of Kumbhalgarh , till the point your human eye will be capable of seeing.

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The birthplace of Maharana Pratap

 

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Aravali views from the fort

Badal Mahal

Next, arrive at Badal Mahal. Badal Mahal is one of the most prominent structures of Kumbhalgarh fort. The palace is built in a simple and prominent architectural style. With rooms standing on all sides of a simple courtyard. However, every section (a set of rooms) has a very narrow flight of stairs leading to the next floor. I felt it a little bemusing. I was climbing a flight of stair, forgetting which one I exactly used. And was getting down the other. In short, it very much feels like a bhool bhulaiya ( a maze where you can easily loose yourself).

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Badal Mahal courtyard

From atop the first floor of Badal Mahal, again you will find a mesmerizing view of the Aravalis beyond. Also, there seems to be a natural AC at work here. As, you will get ounces of fresh air blowing off the jharokhas (windows) constructed on this side of the palace.

Kul-devi temple

Next, crossing some ruined parts of the palace, you will arrive at a temple with a very dark room. Here, we met the same old lady who had earlier greeted us near the restaurant at the entrance. Here, we discovered, is housed the temple of Kul-devi of King Kumbh. The old lady is in-charge or caretaker of the temple. With great enthusiasm, she tells the visitors about the significance of this temple. Also, she helps the visitors offer their prayers here. It seems, the king and his kins dare not leave for anywhere outside of the kingdom without paying a visit to the Goddess in this temple. Thus, it is the temple of utmost importance within the fort premises.

The Akhand Deep

The inside of the temple where the deity is placed, is quiet dark with just a diya (a wicker oil lamp) glowing into the darkness. You will be stumbled to discover that this is an “akhand deep” (a wicker lamp that is never allowed to go off. It is refilled with oil before it can run out of supply). As per the old lady, this lamp has been burning continuously for the past 700 plus years!!

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Kuldevi Temple and Akhand Jyot at the temple

Parshwanath and Neelkanth Temple

After offering our own prayers at the ancient temple of Kul Devi of the kind of Kumbhalgarh, we next headed towards the other side of main entrance. Towards this side are located the Parshwanath and Neelkanth Temple. But, it was already afternoon. So, we decided to first have our lunch. Thus, we had lunch at the same small restaurant near entrance. Although, the food here is good, it is overrated. As the owner knows very well that there is no other option for visitors, he is cashing on it. Anyways, we had quick bytes of hot Parathas and then we headed for the temples on the other side.

These temples are bigger than the other ones. Also, they have very nice architecture. Since, they are almost located on a cliff, they can be viewed from far and wide. The temples are quiet renowned in the region. It is said, a wish made here is granted for sure 🙂 . From these temple premises you can see all around the valley. Although, there is very less population on this side. However, the greenery extending far and wide once again soothes the eyes.

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Neelkantha temple at the fort

 

From here, we decided to head back out of the fort . Although it was quiet hard to leave the premises. Even after visiting most of the important parts, the trip still felt incomplete. One thing that I very much wanted to do but couldn’t is to climb on those great walls and walk as far off as the terrain would allow…next time for sure…

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Parshwanath temple

Tips to visit Kumbhalgarh fort

  1. Start early from Udaipur. Try to have early breakfast and reach here by 10:30am.
  2. Carry snacks and if possible lunch as well. There are hardly any food or water options on the way.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes. There will be lots of walking to be done
  4. Don’t forget to carry your sunglasses and sunscreen along.
  5. Carry inside the fort only as much item (food or otherwise) as you are comfortable carrying all the while as there is no option to deposit them anywhere.
  6. Guided tours at this fort are little costly as the fort is quiet huge. If you go for it, you will definitely enjoy. Or else, you can try exploring on your own. There are enough boards around with details engraved on them.

 

Kumbhalgarh

 

You might as well be interested in

Beautiful Wedding depiction at Bagore Ki Haveli Museum

Sahelion ki Bari, Udaipur

City Palance, Udaipur

Shilpgram: Must visit in Udaipur

A day trip to Chittorgarh fort from Udaipur

The magnificent Jain Temple of Ranakpur

How best to spend 4 days in Udaipur – itinerary 

3 days Jaipur Itinerary

An evening at Chokhi Dhani, Jaipur

The unconquored fort of Nahargarh, Jaipur

One day trip to Amer fort, Jaipur

10 must do when in Rajasthan

Shopping in Rajasthan

Hotel Ram Pratap Palace, Udaipur

Bagore ki Haveli Museum, Udaipur

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117 Responses

  1. […] arrived at Kumbhalgarh fort by noon. We had some juice and snacks before we started on our exploration. The fort is quiet huge […]

  2. i haven’t heard about this place before but it seems really amazing!! I would love to explore it 🙂

  3. I have heard a lot about Kumbhalgarh Fort. It’s a pity it’s still not on radar of most tourists. Who knew there is this Great Wall of India. Definitely a wonder.

    • hope with time more people come to know about it. It’s definitely one of the best forts that I visited in Rajasthan

  4. Great wall there is like the Great Wall of China and the temples are similar to the ones in Cambodia? I mean, same same but different. But the Aravali views from the Fort is just awesome! Looks relaxing! I love mountains!

    • Right Cathy, the temple architecture is comparable. These are also very old temples and so is the fort

  5. […] Kumbhalgarh fort – the epitome of royal strength […]

  6. Kumbhalgarh fort looks like an incredible day of sightseeing and history of the region. I can imagine it’s a really amazing place to visit. I didn’t know there are forts in India too. Our own histories are really rich.

    • There are numerous forts and palaces in India Jerny..and this one is indeed an incredible one. So was the journey.

  7. I loved this particular fort and that lady in the akhand deep gave me a scare. I entered without expecting anyone and she just called out to me in the dark. Gave me a fright. And I ended with goosebumps for the next few minutes. I would love to explore this place again. Nice pics!

    • Oh..is it!! I can understand. The room is too dark with just the akhand deep glowing in the dark. Definitely, I would have the same reactions in that situation Ami 🙂

  8. Adam, Bite of Iceland

    Great pictures and very interesting post 🙂 Mystic and majestic! I would love to visit Rajasthan one day 🙂

  9. travelscoutadventure

    I was sold on your shot of the towers lining the walls! There is something I find so interesting about ancient walls. Thanks for the tips, it is always handy to have an inside idea 🙂

  10. […] Kumbhalgarh fort – the epitome of royal strength […]

  11. […] Kumbhalgarh fort – the epitome of royal strength […]

  12. Wow there are so many amazing things to see in this region! Definitely will be worth a visit in the near future, so majestic yet magical at the same time!

  13. wow the structures are impressive, I could spend all day exploring it and its surroundings, it just looks so interesting. Thanks for sharing the tips and this place, wouldn’t have known it otherwise!

  14. The Kumbalgarh Fort looks beautiful and mesmerizing. I can spend all day, even more than a day staring and walking through the entire plot of land. The photograph of the full view of the fort definitely defines it majestic nature. I have not been here though it is in my bucketlist. Hope to see it soon someday.

  15. I have recently been reading a lot about india and I am surprised by the about of travel bloggers that cover this country. It’s great as I have always wanted to visit and it makes my planning a lot easier. Thanks for introducind us the Kumbhalagarh fort, It looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to visit!

  16. I have been to Rajasthan thrice but never to Kumbhalgarh. Will surely try to make it the next time. Have heard many good things about the place.

  17. Soraya @ Hello Raya

    Wow this area looks so rich in history and culture. It looks well preserved, and the views you have shown look amazing. Great tips – good to know that there aren’t too many food and drink options along the way so best to bring our own. Would love to visit one day.

    • Thank you! The day we traveled to this fort was one of the most cherished ones during this trip. Supportive weather, wonderful road trip and an amazing fort…

  18. snigdhabhowmick

    I’ve been to Rajasthan but never been to Kumbalgarh before.Great coverage ,especially the temples of this place.Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. I have fallen in love with the history and architecture of this area. It is so rich on both! This place is massive, I think with the kids we would opt for a tour, as we have learned they are helpful when exploring such a large are we are unfamiliar with. Unfortunate the temple was already closed, but you still took in some amazing sites and views. Would love to visit someday!

    • Guided tour definitely helps at historical places since you come to know so much in depth about the place

  20. What a stunning fort. The architecture of the temples is incredible! There is so much history here. Would love to hear the stories.

  21. Rajasthan remains high on my must visit list when I finally get to India!

    Thanks for sharing this gem

  22. Fantastic place embedded in a beautiful landscape. One of the most impressive forts I’ve ever seen online. Boasting as the 2nd largest wall after the Great Chinese Wall only shows how powerful India was. I love it that you can just walk around freely and explore.

  23. When I saw the first photo. I said, “oh its like great wall of china” then while reading its bragged as the great wall of india. Cool! I love all the temples here and the view of the road at Kumbhalgarh is so beautiful.

    • Thats exactly why its called the great wall of India..so much similar in look as well as strength. I wondered though, how in those days the architects in Kumbhalgarh would have discovered about the great wall of China. They didn’t even have a facility to snap photos!!

  24. Beautiful spots and what history. It is amazing how the light has been kept alive for 700 years. If we only could see everything the light has seen. And I love the scenery on the ride there too. Stunning.

    • Nice perspective Agnes…if only we could see what all that light has seen…loved it!!

  25. This makes me realize I have yet seen NOTHING at all of Rajasthan and India itself. Really have to go back – had fun to discover through your picture and post.

    • Thanks Thuymi. I wish you as wonderful a journey as I had when visiting Kumbhalgarh

  26. You took me on tour to Kumbhalgarh through this blog but I wish I can trek for real to the walls of India. Hopefully, I will… And the surrounding place and even the roadside is so green, a good place to breathe a fresh air while setting foot on a historical place.. It’s a must do in India…

    • You are right Louiela, it’s a must see in India..I also felt the same after visiting

  27. Wow! Kumbhalgarh sounds so interesting! I haven’t been to India yet, but I keep adding destinations to my India To Do list, this is definitely going on there. I love any place with a story!

    • So you have a India to do list. Actually that completely makes sense because you have so much to see and so much to do in India

  28. Nice post Neha. I haven’t been to India yet, but I am definitely taking notes on the most interesting things I see.

  29. The Kumbhalgarh Fort looks pretty cool. The turrets have such an interesting shape. Good to know that there aren’t any trash cans inside the fort.

    • Actually there are trash cans but not very frequently placed. You might have to walk a little and look around for one

  30. Hello Neha. What an great post! The Kumbhalgarh fort really looks like an amazing place to visit. I am enjoying your posts on travel to India.

  31. I have been to Rajasthan 3 times but have never been to Kumbalgarh. WIll surely make it there the next time. Have heard good things about the place from many people.

    • Yes, even we had heard a lot about the place. So, it was a must visit on our itinerary this time.

  32. India really has a lot to offer and this destination has plenty of wonderful sites to see and enjoy. Definitely worth to explore.

  33. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer

    Wow what a day. Looks like you had a great time. I have been to many forts and love looking around. Also great tips at the end. Always useful.

    • Yes, we had a great time Kathy. This was one of the best day trips we took while on our recent Rajasthan trip

  34. Kumbhalgarh fort is very interesting as well as its rich history. This is the first time I read about this and thankyou for sharing your experience in your tour.

  35. What a detailed post on Kumbalgarh. From your beautiful pictures, it looks really grand despite it being centuries old. Were tour guides available here? It would be nice to be able to hear some of the old stories and histories while among its grandeur!

    • Yes Michelle, tour guides were available. They are well versed with the history of the place

  36. Wow Rajasthan looks fantastic, I am travelling vietnam, Thailand and cambodia in south east Asia at the moment but i didn’t realise there were temples as impressive here !

    • Its full of forts, palaces, temples. Rajasthan is as diverse that it has sand dunes at one end with desert camps and camel safari. At the other end, it houses a hill station, the beautiful & green Aravali hills and many lakes

  37. Lovely post Neha. Although I haven’t yet been to Udaipur, Rajasthan in general is really an amazing place to discover the region’s history and art and culture and the forts add to that. Thanks for a detailed post on your trip, because sometimes even the smallest mentions, like the small eating place where you picked up drinks, can come in handy when travelling especially with children. beautiful photos.

    • Rightly said Raghav. Rajasthan is so amazing and vast. And I am trying to capture the details of my 10 days trip here through several posts. Still, there are more places to be discovered in Rajasthan, on my next trip 🙂

  38. We unfortunately missed it this time during our trip to Rajasthan but we can still feel the grandeur of the fort walls through your pictures and post. Kumbalgarh is definitely something not to miss.

  39. We went at night too and the views are mesmerizing with each part of fort glowing with light.
    And the story of sacrificed head rolling down… OMG! when the guide narrated my kids were shocked to silence!

    • Oh..is it? we couldn’t catchup with the light and sound show at night, although we very much wanted to. Must have been very interesting and captivating to walk through the history via the show

  40. I coudn’t count the blogs that I’d seen that featured Kumbhalgarh fort. Looks like it’s becoming famous to bloggers. I could understand why though, the fort looks beautiful. I am now convinced that when I go there it should be in my itinerary.

    • Even I had read blogs on Kumbhalgarh before I went there. I had a rough image of the fort in my mind already. But it was nothing compared to all that I actually got to see and experience 🙂 No writing will be able to capture it’s grandeur 100%

  41. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    I find it very interesting the way the wall was built – it looks like mini-domes all around. I can never get enough of the beautiful architecture in India. We ran out of time so we didn’t visit Udaipur so I have no other choice but to go back to India. 🙂

    • 🙂 Those mini-domes, I guess they are the secret behind the great strength of these walls. I hope you will soon have another lovely trip to India

  42. What a massive complex. It looks really majestic, no wonder you had such a day

  43. This is looks like quite a place to explore! I can imagine it would be hard to know where to begin! The view from the fort looking out into the trees is gorgeous! The fort looks like it has been very well preserved and maintained.

    • You are right Sarah. We loved the fact that this fort has been declared a heritage and is being well maintained. On our previous trips, we were really sad to see the dilapidated condition of some of the other great architectural wonders

  44. Impressive architecture! I like the scallop tops on the fort and the unique windows. What an adventure.

  45. This part of the world is so interesting to me and I hope to get there one day. The architecture at this site is really unique! But what exactly is a ‘light and sound show’? 🙂

    • The ‘light and sound show’ is a show where the story / history of the fort, and the dynasty that lived here, is narrated via light projections and sound.

  46. Kumbhalgarh looks so beautiful and imposing at the same time! I can imagine it’s a really amazing place to visit. I had no idea that forts like this existed in India, which makes me excited to get there ASAP!

    • There are so many beautiful forts in Rajasthan. I am yet to write about some more.. 🙂 Hope you will enjoy reading them as well

  47. Kumbhalgarh fort looks like an incredible day of sightseeing and history of the region. I stayed in Udaipur, but only one day so didn’t get a chance to venture very far from the city centre.The architecture looks rich and full of details just like the temples and other structures in Rajesthan. Very nice.

    • Thanks Janine. Udaipur in 1 day means you would have got a chance to see only the highlights. There’s definitely much more. Kumbhalgarh journey was one of our most memorable ones.

  48. Kumbhalgarh is one of the most interesting fort. Nice post.

  49. theetlrblog

    Have heard so much about Kumbhalgarh fort but never really got the chance to visit.It’s always a pleasure to trek in the forts to reach the highest point and the fact that there is so much of history behind every wall, gate which makes the whole experience memorable.The tips are surely going to help a lot.

    • So rightly said. The story behind those walls and chambers make our visit all the more interesting

  50. I’ve never seen such magnificent walls and structures!!!!

  51. The views from the fort look amazing. It so lush and green. I also really like the pols.

  52. Thanks for the tips. It is better to go light as you may have to walk a lot and from the post it is obvious that the fort is really big.

    • You are right. We walked a lot. But still you should carry water and some minimum snacks

  53. What an impressive fort! And the view to the hills are great! I can imagine how hard it have been to sport the enemy around!

  54. This looks amazing! And I’m so glad to see you were able to do this with a little one. We travel everywhere with our daughter so it’s nice to find reviews written by other parents.

    • Nice to hear that Melissa. There are challenges and limitations when traveling with the little ones but then there is so much of happiness and fun seeing them enjoy..

  55. I would love to visit Kumbalgarh, it looks fascinating! Thanks for another great post with some gorgeous pics!

  56. How incredibly stunning! I am beyond amazed by the details of the fort, temples and other monuments you’ve pictured here.

    • Thank you! The fort is indeed stunning. I still am not able to believe such a huge and robust structure was built in an era when modern technologies were not even known

  57. Rajasthan has such a rich history. I love visiting Rajasthan’s forts and learning about the region’s famous rulers. Somehow I managed to miss Kumbhalgarh Fort. I will definitely visit this next time I go.

  58. What an amazing Fort! The architecture is great and the drive to get there looks very scenic. Thanks for the tips about stocking up on snacks before departure – I’d hate to be stranded without supplies in such a beautiful spot!

  59. Kumbhalgarh’s super gorgeous! It’s one destination I want to go back with lots more time in hand.

  60. Seems you are out for a complete Rajasthan trip …i am following yo since you started from Jaipur, then Udaipur and now this……the Kumbhalgarh highway seems to give an amazing driving experience

    • Actually Mohit, I would say, just one third of Rajasthan. We went to a trip of Jaipur and Udaipur , including places around these. But there is so much more to see and do in Rajasthan like the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Mt. Abu, Ranthambore and the list goes on. However, I am so happy to know you have been through all my posts and you remember them too.. 🙂 Thanks for that!

  61. The fort is another gem of Rajasthan. Love forts of Rajasthan, they have an aura of history around them. The stories of valour of the soldiers and kings of the past must still be heard in the wind here.

    • Exactly. Without those stories these are mere buildings of the past. But once you know the stories, as you stroll through each and every chamber of these forts and palaces, it seems like the whole era and its being is coming live right in front of you..you are able to relate to and experience it at a different level

  62. We recently went to Ranakpur but missed visiting Kumbalgarh because of time issues. It seems we missed something nice. Hopefully on our next trip to Rajasthan we’ll make it to the fort 🙂

    • You definitely should visit it once, our opinion. Of all the day trips that we did in Rajasthan, the one to Kumbhalgarh was somehow the most memorable. Favorable weather. Beautiful surroundings. An enormous fort..and lots of walking with family! That was our perfect day in the whole tour

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